Letters to the Editor
—Roberta Sloan, School of Communications and Theater
Dear Editor Gordon,
Although I fully support your goal of highlighting faculty opinion on controversial issues in the Faculty Herald, I was disappointed in the last Faculty Herald issue published. It seemed to me that the article on the Islamic Chair controversy and the views of individual faculty that were selected to be highlighted, did not fully encompass the varying views amongst faculty on this particular issue. Since the Faculty Herald may be seen as a publication of the Faculty Senate, the articles published are often interpreted as representing the views of the Faculty Senate as a whole and of the Faculty Senate Steering Committee. I don't believe that to be the case regarding the stance taken on this issue.
There are those of us who, while fully appreciating the support shown Professor Mahmoud Ayoub, feel as if President Hart and the Board of Trustees acted appropriately and in the best interest of the university in waiting to approve the offer of an endowed Islamic Chair from IIIT. President Hart and the BOT are expected to show due diligence in these matters. If their research indicated a need for delay in accepting funding from this particular organization, then, in all probability, there were very good reasons for putting off a final decision to accept the contribution. From my readings of the IIIT mission and activities, there does seem to be areas of very valid concern. It is surely not an abrogation of academic freedom to exercise care.
Further, President Hart announced the first major gift towards an Islamic Chair soon after, so there is no issue with the establishment of an Islamic Chair, only with the organization or persons who will fund such a chair.
In the future, I hope that the Faculty Herald will include opinions representing all sides of controversial issues rather than appear to be taking a particular stance.
Roberta Sloan, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Temple University Theater Department
Member of the Faculty Senate Steering Committee
The following reply was sent to Professor Sloan:
Dear Professor Sloan,
Thank you for informing me of your opinion on this matter. The Temple Faculty Herald publishes the minutes of the Faculty Senate but it is autonomous regarding its content. There is an advisory board, but ultimately its contents are the discretion of the editor. I had emailed a request for faculty opinions, and the ones published are those I received. Had you, for instance, sent yours, I would have included it in that issue.
If you would like, I would be happy to print the letter you have sent me in the next issue, since I share your view that the paper should be a faculty forum, which includes opposing
opinions as well.
With regard to President Hart, the piece I wrote made it clear that there was no malfeasance on her part.
If you would like your note included as a letter to the editor in the next issue, please email me your permission for me to do so.
Lewis GordonEditor of The Faculty Herald